Man Kills Wife, Then Hangs Himself From Window as Police Stand by Helplessly

Masleh Andargia, 31, was killed by her husband early Thursday morning, apparently after an argument.

Masleh Andargia, 31, was killed by her husband early yesterday morning, apparently after an argument, police said.

The husband, Avi Andargia, 43, then hanged himself from the window in plain sight of a policewoman stationed outside the Petah Tikva apartment, even as her colleague tried to break into the flat.

Petah Tikva murder scene - Nir Keidar - Oct. 29, 2010
Nir Keidar

At about 1 A.M. yesterday morning, the police received a report of shouting and sounds of breaking glass coming from the flat.

A police crew sent to the scene found the husband standing at the window and tying a rope around his neck. As the policewoman tried to persuade him not to commit suicide, her colleague tried to break down the door to the apartment.

But by the time police and neighbors managed to force the door, it was too late: The husband had hanged himself from the window, and died before the policewoman's eyes.

Police found the wife lying in the kitchen in a pool of blood. She tried speaking to them, but in Amharic, which they did not understand.

The woman, who had reportedly been stabbed multiple times with a broken bottle, died of her wounds two hours later at the city's Beilinson Hospital.

The husband's body was later removed from the rope with the aid of a crane.

The two had been married for 17 years, without children.

They came to Israel from Ethiopia three years ago and settled in Petah Tikva, where the woman worked at odd jobs and her husband worked at the market.

Police had not received any complaints of violence by the husband, and the couple was known to the welfare authorities only because of their financial needs.

"We arrived literally minutes after getting the call," Chief Inspector Yigal Hasdai, the policeman who broke down the door, told Haaretz. "We saw the husband trying to kill himself, but we didn't make it into the house in time, and he died. The woman was badly wounded, but alive, and we were only told later that she died in hospital."

Neighbors described the pair as one that didn't often fight, though in recent weeks, altercations between the two had apparently become more frequent.

"They were really quiet," one neighbor said. "He was a very nice man who always said hello. There was yelling in the house sometimes, but no more than in any other house. I never heard of any violence."